Throne of Darkness is a Feudal Japan themed action RPG in the vein of Diablo II. Along with the standard mechanics of the genre (click on evil things until they die, loot what falls out of their corpses, sell, upgrade, repeat) ToD allows the player to control a party of four different warriors inspired by historical Samurai and Ninja. The party system allows you to have separate inventories for each warrior as well as giving you the ability to set the formation of your party to better defend, cut through or surround your enemies. Although the party consists of four warriors the player only controls one at a time, hotswitching between warriors is accomplished using the on screen symbols or the spacebar. any party members not under the direct control of the player will fight according to the AI specific to their class ToD also has a robust crafting system that gives you the option to tailor your weapons and armor to your specific party.
Throne of Darkness takes place in a feudal version of Japan called Yamato. at the time of the game Yamato is ruled by the Shogun Tsunayoshi and his four warlords. Tsunayoshi seeks ultimate power over the land and in a bid to acquire it transforms himself into the dark warlord Zanshin. Now a demon general, Zanshin unleashes an army of undead soldiers to destroy all those who would stand in his way including his four Daimyo subordinates and all the Samurai in their employ. believing his sneak attacks successful Zanshin recalls his forces and begins the conquering of Yamato proper. His attacks were not a complete success however, one Daimyo and his seven Samurai retainers survived the night and fight on to destroy Zanshin and save Yamato.
Players can choose the clan and Daimyo that survived the attack by picking a castle at the outset of the game, the castle they choose will determine the names of the Daimyo, the playable Samurai and the final mission of the game. Castle choice has no effect on playable classes, all classes are available to all players.
The playable clans are as follows:
The player can choose to have four of the seven available classes in his party at a time and can swap them in and out of his active party at will. Any warriors that are not in active play can be sent to recover health and ki (magic points). Katana are available to all classes from the outset, however each class has strengths and weaknesses that allow a wide degree of customization in your active party.
The playable classes are as follows:
- The Swordsman, a powerful melee combatant specializing in dual swords, he can also use a bow and arrow to good effect making him a useful class that excels at any distance.
- The Archer, specializing in all ranged weapons, is best with the bow and arrow, most useful out of close combat.
- The Brick, a melee fighter who utilizes heavy weapons. He specializes in the Tetsubo a weighted club and the Naginata a polearm, excellent damage up close.
- The Wizard, a spell caster that can utilize all kinds of magic for defense and offense, good for crowd control, empowering the party and area damage.
- The Berserker, a mix of the Brick and the Swordsman, a powerful melee fighter that is best with dual swords and a secondary polearm, has an effective fear spell.
- The Ninja, a master of throwing weapons, is most effective at a distance but can be a useful melee hit and run fighter.
- The Leader, a powerful all round warrior, he has the highest starting charisma of all classes and shares the specialties of the other six warriors, an exceptional party leader that can be specced to fulfill any role.
At the time of release players of ToD were able to start a multiplayer game over the internet hosted by the Sierra On-line servers or locally over TCP/IP LAN. When connecting via the internet you started with a new clan and all progress was persistent to that mode stored on the Sierra servers. Locally however you could use the clan from your single player game and gain experience and items that were transferable between single player and local multiplayer.
Multiplayer was different from single player in that it lacked the quest system and the early access restrictions to the Blacksmith and Priest (two NPC's used to upgrade your weapons, armor and items). Whereas the aim of the single player game is to complete all of the story quests and finally destroy the Demon Zanshin, in multiplayer it is a "king of the hill" style mode where you strive to be the first of four player controlled clans to defeat Zanshin and his seven lieutenants.
Throne of Darkness was developed by Click Entertainment and published by Sierra Entertainment Inc. Part of the reason ToD is seen as so similar to Diablo is the development staff. Click Entertainment founders Doron Gartner and Ben Haas had previously worked on Diablo at Blizzard North. Although never having worked for Blizzard at the time of development, lead concept artist Victor Lee would later go on to be one of the chief concept artists on the development of Diablo III. Despite this development pedigree and the positive reception of the game at the time, Throne of Darkness was only marginally successful and remains as the companies only PC release.
- Pentium 266MHz Processor
- 32MB RAM
- 700MB Hard Disk Space
- 4X CD-ROM Drive
- Video card capable of DirectX 7.0a
- 68040 33MHz Processor
- 8MB RAM
- 10MB Hard Disk Space
- 2X CD-ROM Drive
- 64MB RAM
- 56K Modem
- TCP/IP LAN